Never Choose Your Paint Color First! - MDG in New Jersey

Never Choose Your Paint First!

Posted by Bridget McMullin on April 05, 2016

Please, read the title again.  As a designer, I say this on every single project.  MDG’s other designers say it on every project.  And still, clients insist on picking paint first.  I am passionate about this stance, so much so that I will stake my reputation upon this absolute statement.  Unless you have an unlimited budget that allows you to have everything custom made, you should never, EVER chose your paint first.

Here are the top three reasons why this is a really bad idea:

The Cerulean Blue Speech

Remember the speech Miranda Priestly gave Andy in The Devil Wears Prada?  I remember that speech. I remember that speech every time someone decides to pick lime green or orange.  It goes something like this:

Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?

Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothing’s… You know, it’s just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I’m still learning about all this stuff and, uh…

Miranda Priestly: ‘This… stuff’? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”

Miranda may not be the best at her delivery, but the concept of her speech is true in the world of interior design, too.  All of these color inspirations come from the top down, and if you have a tight or lower budget, paint should always be the last thing you pick because your price point will dictate everything from the colors that are offered to in fabrics and accessories available at your budget level.  From Homegoods to Ballard, Pottery Barn to West Elm, palettes are limited so they can be accessible to the largest clientele possible.   Dreams of the perfect Kelly Green have been thwarted because Kelly Green happens to not be in any color forecasts for the next five years.  Yes, I said color forecasts……like the weather!

How would you feel if you fell in love with these unique rugs, but you had already committed to a Forest Green room?  Sad…that would be the feeling that would best describe your disappointment.

“The Color Purple”

Ever wonder where those bloggers get their “Colors” for the next year? They usually get them from magazines, who in turn get them from the manufacturers, who in turn get them from the few companies that dictate the color forecasts for the next five years. These forecasters are tuned into the highest of high end Interior Design trends.  These are the ones that the team at MDG sees at High Point Furniture Market.  The color forecasters are the Svengali’s of the design world.  From your clothing to you homegoods, these forecasters look to the top design trends that only the tuned in public sees and then decides what color will become the big market trends.  Some make it, like the spa blue that EVERYONE has in their homes.  And many don’t, like purple.  The color forecasters have been trying for years to make purple the comeback color.  The public just ain’t buying it!

All of these amazing pillows can be the start of the perfect room.  Having a color tone and overall concept before selecting paint colors will save you time and frustration.

“No One Puts Baby in the Corner”

Why literally paint yourself into a corner?  When designing on a dime you will find that your budget can be limiting, and rethinking your design idea on the fly is a better way to approach the design.  A unique aqua piece at Homegoods is perfect, except it is not the right aqua tone due to the fact that you already painted the room.  If you had just waited a few weeks, you could have procured all the best finds from the discount retailers and then cultivated these great finds into the perfect room…..or what would have been the perfect room if you just didn’t paint first.

What is the take away of my paint rant?

Plan, take your time, and do some shopping before you commit to your paint color!  Our team brings all of the fabrics together before we pick a color.  If you are doing it on your own, we recommend you do the same.  The final result will be more pleasing overall and less frustrating.